Trieste (Triest in German, Trst in Slovenian and Croatian) is a city in North-East Italy. Once a very influential and powerful centre of politics, literature, music, art and culture under Austrian-Hungarian dominion, its importance fell into decline towards the end of the 20th century, and today, Trieste is often forgotten as tourists head off to the big Italian cities like Rome and Milan. It is, however, a very charming underestimated city, with a quiet and lovely almost Eastern European atmosphere, several pubs and cafes, some stunning archicture and a beautiful sea view. It was also, for a while, the residence of famous Irish writer James Joyce.
Trieste is the capital of the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and has 205,557 inhabitants. It is situated on the crossroads of several commercial and cultural flows: German middle Europe to the north, Slavic masses and the Balkans to the east, Italy and then Latin countries to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.
Its artistic and cultural heritage is linked to its singular "border town" location. You can find some old Roman architecture (a small theater near the sea, a nice arch into old city and an interesting Roman museum), Austrian empire architecture across the city centre (similar to stuff you can find in Vienna) and a nice atmosphere of metissage of Mediterranean styles, as Trieste was a very important port during the 18th century.
The region of Friuli Venezia Giulia is officially quadrilingual (Italian, Slovene, Ladin and German). Signs are often only italian in Trieste, as the city itself is generally Italian speaking and the local dialect (a form of the Venetian language) is called Triestine. Surrounding villages and towns are often inhabited by mostly Slovene speakers. Residents, and those working in the city, can easily find free courses to learn Italian or Slovene or German or English and many other languages.
The International Airport of Ronchi dei Legionari is 33km north of the city centre. A bus service (number 51) runs to the airport from Trieste's bus station (next to the railway station). Weekdays buses leave at 5 minutes and 35 minutes past the hour however on Sundays the service is every 1 to 2 hours. The bus takes about 55 minutes, a taxi (around 50 euro) takes 30-35 minutes. Tickets can be bought from a machine in the airport terminal. You can also take a train from Trieste station to Monfalcone (approximately 25 minutes) and take a short bus / taxi ride to the airport.
The airport is just off the A4 Trieste-Venice motorway (Redipuglia exit). Long and short-stay car parks are available.
Monfalcone Railway Station - located some 5 km from the airport on the Trieste-Venice railway line - can be reached by Local Transport service APT Bus 10, running every 20/25 minutes.
The public transport company APT operates bus and coach services linking the airport with:
Gorizia: Coach 1 and other services in connection with Coach 51
Lots of trains from Venice and Udine, Eurostar from Milan and Rome and Cisalpino from Basel at the Central Railway Station.
Trains from Ljubljana, Maribor, Budapest and also Zagreb (Euronight) at the Villa Opicina Station, from where you can travel to central Trieste by the tram or by bus #42.
If you arrive by train, the last 15 minutes of travel you have a beautiful sight, because the railway goes along the sea and if the weather is good it should be very striking.
Coach tour of Trieste 040 308536, (040 311529, firstname.lastname@example.org), . Saturday 2-4:30pm. Sightseeing tour starts outside the railway station (Piazza Libertà 8). Booking and ticket purchase (5.20 Euro) at the Eurostar office of Trieste Centrale Railway Station.
Walking Like most of Europe, a stroll through the town to admire its ancient architecture is a very popular activity. You get to travel at your own pace and even get some coffee along the way. Trieste is not particularly big and if you do not have luggage with you there is no need to take a bus.
Bus Trieste has a network of buses running on a strict schedule. This can often be checked on the web . Routes are very frequent through the day but rarer after 9pm in the evening, on Sundays and holidays. Strikes occasionally affect buses but Trieste is a small city and most places of interest can easily be reached on foot. Tickets can be bought from tobacconists. They cost €1.25 each. Tickets can be bought from tobacconists and from machines which are found at some of the busier bus stops.
Museo Revoltella - This museum was donated to the city in 1869 by Baron Pasquale Revoltella, a great patron of the arts who liked to surround himself with precious and avant-garde works. In a building restored and extended by architect Carlo Scarpa, the museum today houses one of Italy’s finest collections of 19th-century, modern and contemporary art.
Museo di Storia, Arte e Orto Lapidario (Museum of History and Art and Lapidary Garden) Archaeological, historical and art collections. Prehistoric and protohuman findings of local origin; Roman and medieval sculptures and epigraphs. Egyptian, Greek, Roman and pre-Roman antiques. Numismatic collection. Photograph and book libraries.
Museo di Storia Naturale - Zoological, botanical, geological, palaeontological and mineralogical collections. Vivarium. Specialised scientific library.
The Roman Theatre - Trieste or Tergeste, which probably dates back to the protohistoric period, was enclosed by walls built in 33-32 BC on Emperor Octavius’s orders. The city developed greatly during the 1st and 2nd century AD. The Roman Theatre lies at the foot of the San Giusto hill, and faces the sea. The construction partially exploits the gentle slope of the hill, and most of the construction work is in stone. The topmost portion of the amphitheatre steps and the stage were presumably made of wood. The statues that adorned the theatre (which was brought to light in the '30s) are now preserved at the Town Museum. Three inscriptions from the Trajan period mention a certain Q. Petronius Modestus, a person who was closely connected with the development of the theatre, which was erected during the second half of the 1st century.
Il Faro della Vittoria (Victory Lighthouse) - The Lighthouse of the Victory, an impressive work of the Triestine architect Arduino Berlam (1880-1946) and of the sculptor Giovanni Mayer (1863-1943), has two important functions. Besides lighting the gulf of Trieste, in order to help navigation, it also serves as a commemorative monument dedicated to the fallen of the first Worid War. The lighthouse is topped by an embossed copper statue of Victory sculpted by Giovanni Mayer. Under this statue is affixed the anchor of the torpedo-boat Audace (the first Italian ship that entered the port of Trieste on November 3,1918),
Arco di Riccardo - The "Arco di Riccardo" is an Augustan gate built in the Roman walls in 33 A.D. It stands in Piazzetta Barbacan, in the narrow streets of the old town.
Museo della Comunità Ebraica di Trieste "Carlo e Vera Wagner" ("Carlo e Vera Wagner" Museum of the Jewish Community of Trieste) - Collection of ritual art of the Jewish community of Trieste, mainly silverware and fabrics.
Synagogue - It's one of the largest in Europe, and was built in 1912. Open on Sundays 10÷12 and on Thursdays 15.30÷17.30, guided tours only, info Key Tre Viaggi tel. +39 040 6726736
Museo della Risiera di San Sabba (Risiera di San Sabba Museum) - A national monument - a testimonial of the only Nazi extermination camp in Italy.
Railway Museum Trieste Campo Marzio - Housed in the former railhouse, the museum features drawings, models and fullsized train engines and railcars as well as horse-drawn trams from Trieste's past.
Take the tram #2 from Piazza Oberdan to Opicina. Alight at the Obelisco, and take a walk along the pedestrian Strada Vicentina to Prosecco. The views are superb. The tram has been recently fixed and is doing the entire route again. Do not miss it if you come to Trieste!
The cuisine of Trieste reflects the living traditions of the many populations that have passed through the city over the centuries. In the city's restaurants, called "buffets", you can find delicious examples of the local Austrian and Slavic tradition.
Caldaia Traditional dish of boiled pork.
Jota a soup prepared with pork, potatoes, cabbage, and finely-ground beans
Gnocchi in the style of Austrian dumplings, made with everything from ham to stuffed with plums.
Brodetto Fish soup
Risotto Creamy rice dish
Sardoni in savor flavored pilchards
Salads common favorites here include chicory and rocket
Farmers of the plateau who had been allowed by an imperial decree to sell their own products during a period of 8 days, organized the so-called osmizze, where it is possible to taste local wines and products, such as Monrupino's tabor cheese and honey from San Dorligo.
The pastry shops in Trieste offer delicious local varieties of the most famous Austrian cakes: Sacher torte, krapfen, strucolo cotto and strucolo de pomi (local varieties of strudel), chiffeletti (cookies made with flour, eggs and potatoes and fried in oil)
During Easter you can taste the pinza, a sweet leavened bread that many women still prepare at home and take to the bakery to be cooked. Richer variants of this are the titola, decorated with a hard-boiled egg, putizza and presnitz. Fritole, pancakes stuffed and fried in oil and fave, small round cookies made with almonds and aromas are typical during Carnival.
Coffee has been an important part of Trieste since the 1700s. Some of the most famous caffè, know as much for their famous patrons as their food and drink, include:
Caffè Tommaseo, Riva 3 Novembre
Caffè San Marco, via Battisti, 18. Open since 1914, San Marcho is as popular with today's students and tourists as it was in the days of Saba and Giotti.
Caffè Pasticceria Pirona One of the few remaining petesserias (cake shop that also sells coffee and liqueur, as well as beverages made from ) to have retained its Viennese charm. One of its most devoted customers was none other than James Joyce.
Caffè degli Specchi, Piazza Unità d'Italia
Chocolat via Cavana 15 It's a must for hot chocolate in wintertime and chocolate icecream in summertime.
The Tergeste Youth Hostel, Viale Miramare, 331, (Take line 36 from Oberdan Square to Grignano. Journey takes between 10 and 20 minutes depending on traffic and passes the railway tracks and beach of Barcola. Get off at the Miramare junction, two minutes walk to the hostel.) +39 40 224102 (), . 74 beds, restaurant indoors and a snack-bar and restaurant on the panoramic terrace. The youth hostel is easily reached by bus. It should be noted that it has a fantastic location with the Adriatic sea just a few metres in front of it.
Hotel Porta Cavana, Via Felice Venezian, 14, tel. +39 4030 1313; email@example.com, . Close to the beautiful Piazza Unità, its rooms have a CD-player, cable TV and VCR. Staff is friendly and speaks English. Singles/Doubles min/max € 36 - 130.
B&B Adria, Sistiana, 59/V, tel. +39 328 09 77 182; firstname.lastname@example.org, . Close to the Castle Duino, the Rilke Promenade above the Natural reserve of Duino's Cliffs, very good connections with public transport to airport and downtown. Staff is very friendly and helpful. Double rooms min/max € 22/24 per person/night, breakfast is included.
Across the countryside you can find small beautiful farms where you will find beautiful different kinds of home-made salami, cheese and ham, and a characteristic red wine. And maybe along the Riviera (Muggia, Sistiana, Duino)you can find some nice places to sleep, too.
The pretty island of Grado just to the west makes a good half day boat trip (ticket retour 6 €) .
Grotta Gigante - The Giant cave claims to be the biggest tourist cave in the world (since 1997 in the Guinness book of records). 15 km by city bus #42 or the tram of Opicina then 1 hour walking along the path #26. The enormous hall is 107 metres high, 280 metres long and 65 metres large. The multi-lingual guided tour takes about 45 minutes. You can also visit the Museum of Speleology is near the cave and besides the various speleological, geological and paleontological finds it also includes some valuable archeological pieces and a poster collection of the cave. Two wide parking lots are available on the outside. Another cave and World Heritage Site, Skocjan Caves in Slovenia is located just a few minutes from Bassovica, one of the suburbs above Trieste.
The Slovenian coastal cities of Koper and Piran are about 30 minutes away (1 hour by bus) and make a great day trip. Buses departs from the bus station (EURO 5.30 one way). The twin cities of Gorizia (in Italy) and Nova Gorica (in Slovenia) are around 45 minutes by train from Trieste. From Nova Gorica it's easy to take a connecting train to Lake Bled or other parts of the Slovenian Alps.
During the summer months there are daily ferries to Piran (Slovenia) and Porec, Rovinj and Pula in Croatia costing around 40 euro for a return ticket. The Croatian cities in Istria are all accessible from Trieste by car in little over an hour. Trips to Austria (2 hours by car, 3 hours by train) are possible from Trieste via either Udine or Nova Gorica
Trieste has a reputation of being one of Italy's safest cities possibly due to it being a border city (and therefore formerly full of border police and other security services). There are very few problems with regards to walking the streets at night, taking taxis or pick pocketing. Obviously normal precautions should be taken and like elsewhere in Italy be careful of drivers who tend to think that they own the road.
Speakers of Italian or Slovene or German should find work easily in Trieste. The city has a large number of science parks which employ scientists from all over the world and communication at these centres is usually in English. There are also a small number of English language schools which employ native speakers.